Saturday, December 12, 2009

How fair is fair trade?

To be honest I never felt right about the market manipulation aspect of fair trade. I know that large companies have used market manipulation to exploit poor farmers for years. However the cure for market manipulation isn't different manipulation, it is an attempt to really have a free market system.

We might think of sub-Saharan subsistence economies when we think of
Fairtrade, but the biggest recipient of Fairtrade subsidy is actually
Mexico. Mexico is the biggest producer of Fairtrade coffee with about
23% market share. Indeed, as of 2002, 181 of the 300 Fairtrade coffee producers were located in South America and the Caribbean. As Marc Sidwell points out,
while Mexico has 51 Fairtrade producers, Burundi has none, Ethiopia
four and Rwanda just 10 – meaning that "Fairtrade pays to support
relatively wealthy Mexican coffee farmers at the expense of poorer

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